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Olive St. Pop-Up Bike Lane

Due to how big of a project Olive Street is (2000') and scheduling challenges, we have decided to go back to the drawing board on Olive Street for next year's bike month (May). The good news is that we have 2000' of temporary pop-up bike lane tape and symbols to use this summer! We're looking for candidate streets in neighborhoods all over New Haven to try out pop-up infrastructure that will last for up to a month. If there's a different street that could use a pop-up bike lane, please let us know where and why you think it would be appropriate - and we'll work on making it a reality together!


Biking creates a healthier community and environment and stimulates the local economy. So we're building a temporary bike lane during May to make Olive Street safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

This is a rendering. Actual design may vary. 

What is a pop-up bike lane?

Pop-up bike lanes are temporary, protected bike lanes that communities across the U.S. are using to pilot new infratructure. Permanent changes to infrastructure are expensive and take a long time to design and implement. Temporary pilots provide the community and city an opportunity to try out and play with the design quickly and cheaply.


The Olive Street pop-up bike lane is exciting for several reasons. Not only will this be New Haven's first pop-up bike lane, but it will be our first protected bike lane. And, this month long pilot is longer than any other community has ever had in the U.S!


Here are some examples of pop-up infrastructure in other communities. 


How long will it last?

May was chosen because it is Bike Month - a month long celebration of biking culture in New Haven and the country. This pilot will be implemented on May 1st and will remain in place for the month of May. If the community decides that it improves Olive Street for all users, the trial period will be extended. Otherwise, it will be removed on June 1st. 


What will happen to my parking?

Parking spots (~25) directly on Olive Street will not be available during the pilot. However, the City is working with residents to find nearby open spaces.


Why Olive Street?

The Farmington Canal is part of an 80+ mile paved trail for non-motorized use that stretches from New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts. Long Wharf Drive will soon be improved with pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and a formalized space for local food trucks. To encourage exercise and revitalize the local economy, the City is trying to connect Long Wharf and the Farmington Canal with infrastructure that protects pedestrians and cyclists. Olive Street is the only piece connecting the Farmington Canal to Long Wharf Drive that does not have plans for protected infrastructure for cyclists. 


Olive Street also needs traffic calming. Many cars speed through because they use it as a thoroughfare and alternative to State Street, which does not make Olive Street feel like a safe, calm residential street. Removing the parking will improve sight lines for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians and decrease the chances of collisions, like the one that killed a pedestrian on Olive Street in October 2014. 


Not everyone in New Haven or the Wooster Square neighborhood owns a car. Some choose not to, others cannot afford to. In New Haven, more than 1 out of 4 households have no car, and around 60% have fewer cars than workers. Studies also show that over 60% of people are interested in biking, but are too concerned about safety to try. This protected bike lane will give those people an opportunity to try biking in a safe setting. Streets are public space, and the City wants to ensure that all residents can safely travel to their destinations by creating safe infrastructure for everyone.


After decades of building cities that rely heavily on cars, the transportation industry is beginning to shift away from that model and towards one that focuses on people-centered cities. This is in response to the social, economic, and environmental costs of cars, including air pollution, death, maintenance costs of roads, greenhouse gas emissions, congestion, and the heavy economic burden on lower income populations. The City, along with hundreds of cities across the country, is moving towards a future that relies less on cars and more on alternative modes of transit.


Change takes time, and requires us all to shift how we think about our city. We ask everyone to keep an open mind and give the City the opportunity to prove that this protected bike lane will improve the quality of life for Olive Street residents and the rest of the city. 

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